British Columbia "Booster" License Plates

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In 1961, the British Columbia International Trade Fair (BCITF) organised a Car Rally that started in Montreal on the morning on Sunday April 30, 1961 and ended the following Saturday May 6, 1961, in Vancouver (with stops in Toronto, Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary and Penticton).

All participants in the race were provided a rally plate to display on the front of their cars. As the Shell Oil Company of Canada was a major sponsor, its logo was included in the design. By 1967, the plate had been replaced by a decal or magnet.


This all Canadian route covered 3,800 miles (billed in one newspaper account as the longest rally in the world) and was a formal event on the 1961 International Rally Calendar (having been sanctioned by the Royal Automobile Club and the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile).

71 trophies and $5,000 in prize money was up for grabs and approximately 106 cars would leave Montreal on race day. In the end, Jack Young and Reginald Hillary of Toronto won the rally in their Studebaker-Packard Lark.

All information on this page, other than the photo of the Rally Plate, is courtesy of "The Shell 4000 and BC Trans-Canada Rally History Project".

Photo: Jon Ilnytzky

The Thunderbird Rally is a winter driving adventure through snow and ice covered back roads in the British Columbia interior. Started in 1957, the Rally was part of the Canadian Rally Championship from the mid 1960's to the early 1970's, when the format of the series changed from Time Speed Distance (TSD) to stage (performance) events. The Rally was resurrected by the UBC Sports Car Club in its original format in 1987, and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2007 with a booster plate manufactured by Astrographic.

A 1980s booster plate for the BC Lions football club of the Canadian Football League (CFL).

A series of booster plates produced by Astrographic for sale in "souvenir" shops throughout the province (but principally in Vancouver's Gas Town and Victoria's Government Street). I can't even begin to describe the design...

The 1874 "March West" by the RCMP was an arduous trek from Fort Dufferin to two points in the North West Territories, Fort Macleod and Fort Edmonton. The police force had been commissioned by the government of the day to take law and order to the Canadian west. The plate at left comes out of the Astrographic collection and we wonder if it was ever issued given the wrong dates on display?!?! The original trek was in 1874 and the anniversary trek was held in 1999! Whoops! Granted, the force itself was created in 1873, and 1998 would have been its 125th anniversary, but that it not what the plate seem to be commemorating.

The City of Revelstoke was incorporated on March 1, 1899.

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© Copyright Christopher John Garrish. All rights reserved.